Current Exhibition: In the Details
September 15 @ 5:00 pm - November 4 @ 4:00 pm
The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is proud to present its exhibition In the Details, a group, textile show curated by Lakeland Gallery Coordinator and independent curator, Mary Urbas.
In the Details showcases the work of Libby Chaney, Juli Edberg, Sandy Miller, Jessica Pinsky, Gayle Pritchard, Susan Shie, Deborah Silver, Lilian Tyrrell, Archived Artist Evelyn Ward and Jennifer Whitten. This will be the second exhibition curated by Urbas for the Archives, and promises a wide range of subject matter and styles which will stretch the viewer’s conceptions of what constitutes a piece of “textile art”.
Urbas herself holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she majored in textile design. Of importance to her when selecting work for this exhibition was choosing artists who honor their craft and whose primary concern is the physical surface. Although they vary widely in their mediums and subject matter, they share a consistent attention to the handwork that is rapidly becoming a lost art, “…When you gaze upon and investigate the surface of a printed banner, a quilt, an embroidered or beaded surface, a handwoven piece of fabric, you get a sense of the time that was invested into creating the artwork. You can appreciate the quiet time and hours of meditation that the artist experienced while creating their artwork… I chose artists who …incorporate the many different techniques of surface embellishments; the “details” that were included into each piece. I invite the viewer to notice the contrast in sizes and scale of the works, to see how each artist approached the surfaces on a flat plain or a 3-dimensional sculpture. Some include and introduce other materials such as clay and glass into the work. These are works that beckon you to examine them more closely, to discover the subtle enhancements of the imagery, to see the woven intricacies of the fabrics, and experience the tactile quality of the surfaces.”
While all the artists Urbas selected for In the Details share the attributes described above, there are a few that stand out for other reasons as well. Of note is the inclusion of Lilian Tyrrell, and Susan Shie.
The reputation of both artists exceeds the boundaries of a regional classification. Both artists also have a background in political activism dating back to the 1960’s and both were at Kent State at the time of the shootings in 1970 and were affected by the incident.
Shie is an internationally recognized Ohio artist. Embodied within the copious writing, which is part of her signature quilting style are social and political justice statements based on her personal life experiences, both good and bad. She has truly adopted the feminist slogan, “The personal is political”. Her quilt for In the Details is part of a 78-piece Tarot Deck, The Kitchen Taro, she has been working on since 1998, While the Tarot Quilts weren’t essentially political to start when George W. came along she began voicing her protests as part of her work. While the actual writing on her work is not scripted beforehand she does research the facts before she begins.
Lilian Tyrrell’s large-scale tapestries portray socio-political commentary which is as relevant today as it was when the work was created. In the Details, along with a simultaneous solo show at the Sculpture Center, will mark the first reappearance of her work locally, following her death in 2007. While Lilian had a lifelong interest in textile art, she was neither self-identified as an artist nor formally educated as a weaver. She became interested after taking one class and was essentially self-taught. Her work is shocking because of the blatant imagery, presented in true historical tapestry fashion, as a painting would be, representational imagery, flat, made on a loom, and meant to hang on the wall. Unfortunately, many of the environmental disasters, famines and wars that she depicts are as germane today as they were back in the 1980’s when they were created.
Libby Chaney also claims longstanding politically concerns, and has been very vocal about her distress over the current administration’s policies. Her studio work in progress for In the Details reflects that concern, albite in a more abstract way, than the obvious statements made by Tyrrell and Shie. Her work is typically monumental in scale and process is very important as she lays down one piece of fabric at a time building up a landscape of texture and color, cloth and thread.
A campus wide Opening reception focusing on fiber works was held on Friday September 15, 5:30-8:00pm at the AAWR Gallery. The Sculpture Center & the Davis Sculpture Gallery and Studio were also open for viewing.
Art Bites: Collecting Art Talks – Quilting Today with Tracy Rieger, Saturday October 7th from 1:00 – 3:00pm